01/12/2017

Delivering infrastructure, social value and SME engagement

John Simons, Head of Procurement and Audit, talks about our new Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework, which places social value at the heart of its commissions.

Public sector bodies are under incredible pressure to deliver high quality projects that are both efficient and cost-effective. However, in a time of shrinking budgets, the public sector is also increasingly focused on the delivery of social value from investments in the built environment, in order to maximise the positive benefits for communities and local businesses. 

As the UK transitions out of the European Union, it will become increasingly important for our infrastructure to be upgraded and improved in order to attract investment, enable growth and foster economic development. We believe there is a very significant opportunity here to achieve greater social value from this investment in infrastructure. For this reason, our £2bn second generation National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework will seek to deliver even more community benefits. Alongside increased apprenticeships, job opportunities and supply chain engagement, the framework will seek to create healthier and more resilient communities. This will be achieved through our involvement with community projects, health and wellbeing initiatives, whilst simultaneously focusing on sustainability in the built environment.

Since we launched our National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework in January 2015, over 100 major projects have been commissioned across the UK. Through our extensive engagement with public sector bodies, we understand that the framework is being utilised not only because of the efficiencies it delivers, but because it also generates higher levels of social value. In addition to our existing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), we are introducing a TOMs-based (Themes, Outcomes, Measures) approach to assessing social value. TOMs look beyond economic factors to consider the wider social and environmental benefits. This enables us to provide a wider understanding of the benefits our clients’ projects are delivering within their local communities and enables us to illustrate the return on public sector investment throughout the framework.

At Scape, we are passionate about social value, and that is why it sits at the very heart of all of our frameworks.

– John Simons, Head of Procurement and Audit

We have increased the value of the framework to £2bn to reflect the number of public sector projects that have been procured so far and the growing pipeline of major infrastructure projects across the UK. Over the coming years, the appetite to deliver infrastructure improvements is expected to continue to grow, with the UK Government signalling a commitment to upgrade our national infrastructure and provide the necessary support for communities and businesses to thrive. 

The second generation framework will include a separate lot for Scotland with an upper value of £400m, to reflect the wealth of opportunity in Scotland and the ambition the country has to improve its infrastructure in a way that supports the local economy. Infrastructure delivery in Scotland has been exceptionally high in recent years, nearly double the UK’s output, as the Scottish Government and local authorities recognise the importance of delivering infrastructure to unlock economic growth, support major regeneration plans and improve connectivity. Our National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure framework has evolved in recognition of Scotland as a distinct market with a strong pipeline of activity and a commitment to delivering maximum benefit for local communities.

Engaging local supply chains is a crucial component to ensuring that the economic benefits of major projects are felt within the wider community.

– John Simons, Head of Procurement & Audit

A review of the first three years of the existing framework highlights the commitment to achieving this positive community impact, with the projects commissioned to date delivering high levels of social value. This includes;

  • 82% of supply chain spend within 10 miles of a project
  • 70% local labour within 20 miles.

SME engagement is another vital component of the framework, which has achieved fantastic levels of involvement to date with 94% of framework partner suppliers being SMEs.

While these figures clearly demonstrate a strong commitment to delivering social value, I would like to see this increase in 2018 and beyond. It would also be encouraging to see a diversification in the understanding of what constitutes social value. Across the UK, the framework will be seeking to facilitate safer communities, creating healthier residents and protecting our environment.

John Simons
Written by:

John Simons

Head of Procurement & Audit
Framework Civil Engineering New
Hero Civils I Stock L

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